Imagine an album written, recorded and released in 2020 that claims to be a reflection of the times but no mention of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. Say their names Ziggy Marley.
2020 has been a year of turmoil, conflicts and controversies but on Ziggy Marley’s new album “More Family Time” the man who once sung “I am not Black” wanted no part of the Black struggle such as the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The Rasta Movement, if it still exists, is no longer about resistance, it has morphed into “try not to make anyone uncomfortable” movement, a new movement led by some reggae artists.
It might be full time to decouple Rasta and Reggae from each other. Reggae as all but destroyed the Rasta Movement in quest for fame, popularity and money. When Rasta gets coupled with Reggae, the primary goal it to make music that is palpable for the oppressors rather than uplifting the oppressed. In short, nowadays mixing of Reggae and Rasta is all about profits over the prophets like Leonard Howell and Marcus Garvey.
Ziggy Marley admits that the Black Lives Matter Movement crossed his mind when creating the album but he understood fully well that if he touched the topic, he would run the risk of alienating some potential buyers of the album.
“There are so many things happening in the world right now that provides great topics for me to write music. There is COVID. Then in America we have the whole political climate and the Black Lives Matter Movement. I really had no intention of doing another children’s album, but I was inspired by my four- year-old son Isaiah to write the track Goo goo gag a and that just opened my mind and started me thinking. What’s happening to these kids at this time?” Ziggy told the Jamaican Observer.
The 10-track album is celebrity-studded, with guest stars such as Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Tom Morello, Busta Rhymes, Angelique Kidjo, Tom Morello, Alanis Morisette, his brother Stephen, and the Marley Kids. The family’s pet dog is also featured on the album and gets his name in the spotlight on the song, appropriately titled, My Dog Romeo.
So in one of the most tumultuous years in our lifetime, when it was so important to stand up, a Rasta found a convenient excuse to sit down and back away from struggle, at least the Black struggle.